Live news: China stocks gain as easing of Covid curbs buoys markets
After a period of rest, change and mourning in China, vice-premier and Covid-19 tsar Sun Chunlan said the fight against the virus had entered a “new stage”. The potential unlocking, albeit gradual, of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy is likely to be in the headlines, as will the ensuing inflationary pressures. State institutions and businesses will continue to face the delicate task of paying respects to the late president Jiang Zemin without offending incumbent Xi Jinping.
Now that electricity has been restored to some parts of Ukraine the struggle to increase ammunition production in the west is in focus. Industrial capacity and the interrupted global supply chain will be high on the agenda for ministers of defense at the annual European Intervention Initiative in Oslo and the annual European Defense Agency conference in Brussels. This week may also see Russia’s president Vladimir Putin respond to US counterpart Joe Biden, who said he was open to talk about ending the conflict.
Nationwide’s plummeting house price index continues to damp Christmas spirit in the UK. Will Wednesday’s Halifax house price index figures tell the same story? News of record food inflation certainly has us braced for the upcoming British Retail Consortium November retail sales figures and is likely to play a big role in the annual general meeting discussions of Associated British Foods.
It will be a week of sport across the world. The men’s football World Cup in Qatar will reach the quarter-final stage. The Pakistan-England Test cricket series takes place, and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating final starts in Italy on Thursday.
The Nobel Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Oslo on Saturday.
Highlights this week include the November Halifax house price and purchasing managers’ indices for the UK, Russia and the EU. Also look out for EU retail sales, Germany’s factory orders and industrial production, EU third-quarter gross domestic product and BRC sales, plus trade balance figures from the US.
It’s slim pickings for results this week, but Costco Wholesale is expected to rise owing to resilient demand for fresh food, groceries and fuel, despite decades-high inflation. Lululemon Athletica reports on Thursday and Carl Zeiss Meditec on Friday.
In UK news, we are likely to hear more on Mulberry’s claim that luxury shoppers are shunning London for Europe since the decision to end VAT-free shopping in the UK. Chief executive Thierry Andretta said: “We are losing 45-50 per cent of our potential business [at the Bond Street store] due to the end of the tax-free [shopping].”
Read the full week ahead calendar here.